Advent devotion, Christian, Congregationalist, devotion, Matthew, Presbyterian, Presbyterian Church (USA), Romans, Uncategorized, United Church of Christ (UCC)

Glimpses of Grace Daily Advent Devotion for December 23, 2017

Devotional Reading from Daily Common Lectionary: Matthew 1:1-17

Text: An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, Son of David, Son of Abraham. (v. 1)

Ancestry has become quite a fascination in recent years. A couple of popular television shows helps celebrities trace their ancestry and uncover family secrets. There is always a surprise or two, as well as tears–sometimes tears of joy and at other times tears of sorrow. I’ve taken a couple of DNA tests and discovered some interesting things. For example, my surname is German but my DNA indicates that I am more Irish and British than German.

Matthew begins the gospel that bears his name with the genealogy of Jesus, tracing Him through David and Abraham. His genealogy doesn’t match Luke’s but that’s not the point. Neither was meant to be “biographical”. They are “theological” documents that wanted to make a point. In Jesus, God did something new and transforming. God revealed the Eternal Divine Self to us lowly, broken and sinful human beings. God reached out (and down?) to save us from ourselves.

Advent leads us to the story of Christmas which leads us to the story of the Cross and ultimately the Resurrection. In each story we are only secondary players. The main player is the Almighty. God is at the Beginning and the End.

Over the years I have become increasingly fond of Romans 14:8: “If we live, we live unto the Lord; if we die, we die unto the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we belong to the Lord.”

Lord God, I am Yours. You created me in Your Image. You know the number of my days. In this season of Advent use my spiritual inventory to draw me closer and closer to Your divine Image. Amen.

Christian, devotion, faith, Presbyterian Church (USA), Romans, Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for May 19, 2017

Devotional Reading: Romans 14: 13-23

Text:  I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it is unclean. (v. 14)

I try to be conscious of other people’s feelings and sensibilities. While remaining true to who I am, I adjust my speech and behavior in different settings. It is kind of like knowing what to wear at any given occasion.  The Apostle Paul did the same thing. He wrote that he is “all things to all people”. Some criticize this as being “wishy-washy”, a chameleon Christian. But that is not at all what Paul meant. He was flexible enough to communicate in such a way that people could hear what he said. I do the same thing when I am invited to do an invocation or a closing prayer at a public event. I am true to my Christian faith while not being offensive to others from another faith tradition.

In his letter to the Romans Paul encouraged the community to be sensitive to the sensibilities of others. The problem was that some people who joined the community came out of a pagan background where meat was offered to idols. If they saw a fellow follower of Jesus buying meat from a pagan butcher, they may think that it was okay to practice their old way of life while following Jesus.

Paul said that while followers of Jesus are free to do many things, they must not do something that would cause another, especially those new to the faith, to stumble. We are one another’s keeper. We are responsible not only for ourselves but for others. That is what community is all about. That is what family is all abound.

400 years ago John Donne wrote his Meditation 17 which said in part that no one is an island “entire of itself.” We are connected to one another by our common humanity and more importantly by the cords of God’s love.

Lord, when the weed of selfishness sprouts in my wife, remove it from me. Each day let me be more and more conscious of you and drawn into the likeness of the Risen Lord. Amen.